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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Apr 15, 2007 5:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

I second those emotions ganges. When I saw another valued member of the family leave home, I couldn't resist the urge to contribute my 2p worth, so I cobbled together the following psychobabble as an attempt to bring some objective analysis to the table. In the hope that it might encourage a little more dispassionate dialogue and with it maybe some perspective. Or failing that a guffaw or three.

"Forum communications offer people an opportunity to experience a form of social contact, with no real social presence. The significant difference between cyberspace relationships and ones maintained by other existing technologies (telephone, mail, fax's) is that the new culture values of internet virtual communities have as social norms ones that allow for, and even encourage, contact with relative strangers. In the impersonal isolation of our large cities, where people often live separated from kin or are lonely amid the multitudes, the Net can become a surrogate social life, a vital source of interpersonal contact despite its non-physical nature.

Because cyberspace does not offer a means to monitor others non-verbal responses to one's communications, several unconscious, firmly held expectations about communications protocols are challenged. A critical factor in understanding how text based interpersonal relationships can lead some people to experience pathological consequences is the dis-inhibiting effect inherent in on-line interactivity. The improbability of any local, real life repercussions for on-line social activity produces a relative psychological phenomenon; people feel free to express themselves in an unrestrained manner.
If all computer-mediated communication systems can be said to have one single unifying effect upon human behaviour it is that usage tends to cause the user to become less inhibited. Judgments of others in this virtual social setting, made without the normal sensual clues, can consist of distorted, emotionally laden projections, and can be communicated without the normal constraints imposed by the need to maintain social order. This is a naturally exciting, stimulating and reinforcing aspect of Forum communications, one that contributes to the occurrence of Forum Addiction Disorder.

An on-line community is one of the easiest ways to meet new people. Certainly it is very low-risk. This is mainly due to the essential informality of on-line conversation. Rather than being required to sustain a single conversation with one or more people, relationships usually form out of numerous, often short exchanges. In a way, it is reminiscent of commuters who take the bus or train. They see each other frequently but each encounter is of a fairly short duration. In situations like this the pressure is minimal. If you'd rather read the paper than chat then you just do it and don't worry about it. But, over time, many people form enduring relationships this way. In the on-line environment, just like any other social situation, the basic currency is human attention. In the forum, you communicate with groups that may have as many as several hundred people involved - even if they don't all make comments.

Forum communication increases the range of possible social networks that a person can connect to, and adds elements of diversity that are very appealing to some. There is a "hyperpersonal aspect" to Forum communications, a way to be more selective about how one presents ones self. The kinds of differences between people that might inhibit relationship formation are hidden. This promotes a sense of group membership, one that is solely dependent on the perceptions of the receiver. Control over impression formation is enhanced in written mediums. Another component of the model, feedback, suggests that these heightened self-presentations and idealized perceptions magnify each other to a superordinal level, as users reciprocate each other's partial and selective presentations. This magnification factor of the hyperpersonal model is a theoretical formulation that could help account for the high rates of flame wars and love affairs (metaphorically speaking) that happen on Forums.

A passion adds value to one's life, an addiction takes away value. When the line between these two is crossed, the addict is often the last to know, due to their denial. People have a need for interpersonal contact, social recognition, and a sense of belonging. The common participation in an interesting virtual environment is a basic means by which people using Forums feel connected. Like any bar scene, some people will come and go rather quickly, but there usually exists a core of regulars that all know each other.

Additionally, the utility of the activity has be called into question when you are looking at an intensely repeated behavior. In the case of frequent and continual use of a Forum, it becomes a way of avoiding intimate social contact. The hook however is that it looks like contact, given the freedom that people take to communicate their most intimate thoughts and so it has the appearance of intimacy while in fact the communication is just with a computer screen and words on a line. There is a self-delusion of real depth and emotion here when it allows for the most complete masquerade (I will only show what I want) and the most complete control (I will only interact when I want) and no one truly knows who I am.

Treatment of any behavioral addiction is facilitated by a thorough assessment of the unique behavioral reinforcement patterns contained in any individual case. Anyone seeking help for themselves, or concerned about a loved one, faces several real obstacles. One is finding a psychologist or mental health professional that will acknowledge the existence of this problem, and not just attribute it to other pathology that may or may not be present. Secondly, there is a serious lack of psychologists that are familiar enough with the specific types of Forum social interactions to be qualified to formulate a treatment plan to address.
Following the general caveat that what causes a problem is a problem, it might seem that total abstinence is a reasonable "cure". ;)

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
Heard some say "better run away"
Others say "better stand still"

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
I saw things getting out of hand
I guess they always will

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Apr 15, 2007 5:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

very interesting stuff Jerrob ... though i am not sure whether a guffaw is in order or a further analysis of what the author terms "Forum Addiction Disorder" ... yikes!

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Poster: cush11 Date: Apr 15, 2007 10:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

With very little analysis Brother Arbutnhot... I think we both suffer from it! Suffer??? Maybe not the right word, you know what I mean!

Very good Dr Jerrob...

:)

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Poster: cush11 Date: Apr 15, 2007 11:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

“Ain’t no signs, no dividing lines, and very few rules to guide…” *

Really Dr Hungar! 2p worth? I don’t think you would get change from a quid! Was interesting, entertaining and didn’t hurt my brain much! No problemo considering that this time of night you know who is usually the only other poster…

You do make some valid points… My girlfriend gets very jealous over the time my friends and the time I spend here. I do remember to cover my trail and spend time with her… Once in awhile. Also the point about people being less inhibited with this format… I said in one of the threads a few days ago that “I am the same here as in real life, except maybe a little goofier in real life” Or something to that effect. The fact being… That’s pretty true! I have a “backspace” key here, my mouth doesn’t!

That being said, I have heard somewhere before that admitting you have a problem is something or other… Half the cure? Hi, my name is cush 2, and I have a problem with FAD! Can’t we work obsessive in there though? I do have a special affinity for obsessive…

OK, back to our regular programming… Good to see you back Dr J! How are things in Jolly Ole?

;)

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Apr 16, 2007 1:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

0

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2007-04-16 20:41:36

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Apr 16, 2007 3:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

Hey Midnight Sun. No need to edit your post. I knew you were just jesting. In fact I had written the following and was about to post it before I got distracted.

Thanks for the responses guys. Good to see it taken in the spirit it was intended. Although it was said with tongue firmly in cheek, my intentions were honourable. All things GD (music, poetry, history, philosophy, etc) are one of my passions, and the forum is now included in that because of the group membership thing and the generally high (pun intended) quality of the writing. In a world grown dark and mean the forum is an oasis and I just want to do my bit to try and preserve it for the folks that already gather here and the ones to come.

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Poster: ganges Date: Apr 16, 2007 1:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: back to inspiration from the GD

thanks Jerrob for your thoughts, interesting thoughts, I try to understand everything!! Hope you're well! Ganges